Is It Proper to Pray to Jesus?
Written by John Carson
Mormons say that Jesus is Jehovah of the Old Testament. While I agree with this statement (Jesus is God and therefore is properly identified as Jehovah), there is a dividing line when it comes to their teaching that Jesus is one of many gods. One question I have asked Mormons is "Which god do you pray to, and is it proper to pray to Jesus?" The most frequent response I've heard is, "We are only to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus."
Since Mormons believe that the Father is a separate and distinct god from the Son, for them to direct their prayers to the Father and to Jesus, would mean that they would be praying to two gods. (For more information on the nature of the Son, see Who Is Jesus?)
Should Mormons pray to Jesus?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches in Gospel Principles Chapter 8 (2011):
- “Prayer is a sincere, heartfelt talk with our Heavenly Father. We should pray to God and to no one else. We do not pray to any other being or to anything made by man or God.”
Mormoms believe the Father is the only being our prayers are to be directed to. Jesus, as another being, is not to be prayed to. (See also Doctrines Compared to learn how Mormonism differs from Christianity)
Mormon Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, ridiculed those who direct their prayers to Jesus Christ. In Mormon Doctrine, page 587, he wrote:
- “As an indication of how far removed most of them are from the true form of prayer is the fact that many of them are not made in the name of Christ, while others are addressed directly to Christ or to the Holy Ghost rather than to the Father.”
Can Mormons properly call Jesus, Jehovah, and yet not pray to Him?
2 Chronicles 6:19 reads:
“Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord (Jehovah) my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee.” (Brackets mine)
2 Chronicles 6:19 clearly shows that King Solomon was praying to Jehovah. Since Jesus is Jehovah, this is a direct contradiction to their command not to pray to Jesus.
What does the New Testament teach about directing our prayers to Jesus? Acts chapter 7 records that Stephen was being stoned. While being full of the Holy Ghost, Stephen prayed to Jesus. Verses 59-60 records:
“And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" And having said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:59-60)
Mormons consider the Book of Mormon to be scripture, which Joseph Smith said to be the most correct of any book on earth. In the Book of Mormon it reads:
22 Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them.
25 And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof.
26 And Jesus said unto them: Pray on; nevertheless they did not cease to pray. (3 Nephi 19:22,25-26)
- According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus blessed those who were praying to him and told them to continue
- The Old Testament clearly shows we are to direct our prayers to Jehovah (Who Mormons say is Jesus)
- The New Testament records prayers being rightly directed to Jesus
- Yet Mormons today are told not to pray to Jesus
We are to give honour to the Son the same as we give honour to the Father [John 5:23]. Jesus is the Almighty Creator of all things [Psalm 90:2 and Colossians 1:16-17]. The Bible clearly shows that it is proper to pray to our Creator, Jesus Christ.
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